I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is Sparkles by Louise Bagshawe. It’s almost time to get on a plane and spend a couple of days with your relatives, and I have just the book to pack in your carry-on. Sparkles is so gloriously trashy, so escapist, so over the top, that your own houseful of crazy relatives will suddenly seem just un peu dull.
You know I love the Sex and Shopping novel, and while there isn’t much to make your dear maman blush (the main character is a good Church-goer who doesn’t believe in sex before marriage), it more than makes up for it by luxuriating in the shops and restaurants of Paris. This is the tale of the widow Sophie Massot her billionaire husband just up and vanished one night. It’s been 7 years, that’s long enough to wander around the mansion wearing black, isn’t it? Her deeply confused, possibly Oedipal, and thoroughly weasley son doesn’t think so, but he’s just been conveniently shipped off to college, so Sophie declares the old man dead, packs away her widow’s weeds, and heads to Paris to run his fabulously exclusive jewelry business. It’s sort of floundering, and it’s attracted the attention of banking genius, raconteur, super hottie and coincidentally enough grieving widow Hugh Monfort. (Will any woman ever be able to unlock the raging passions locked within his heart?) (Can Sophie win back the love of her son and still save her beloved company?) (What about the old man isn’t it about time for him to reappear from the dead and possibly ruin everything?)
This is the sort of book where women don’t just get dressed, they chose ‘a summery dress in pale blue slub silk, a single emerald-cut sapphire suspended from a white gold chain, strappy sandals and an ivory cashmere cardigan.’ Sweet! There are cocktail parties and formal receptions, tea with Grandmere and tromping across the moors. This is the sort of book where the women hiss “whore” at each other and everyone drinks a lot of champagne. I wanted to live in this book, where everyone is chic, passions are grand, jewels are huge (and described in glorious detail) and no one ever gets fat or bored.
Sparkles is by Louise Bagshawe. I’m Kim Alexander. Fiction Nation is on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.